Kevin Leighton Baseball Camps
Head Coach Kevin Leighton
Guiding the Rams in 2018 is seventh-year head coach Kevin Leighton.
Leighton, the head baseball coach at Manhattan College for six years, was named head baseball coach at Fordham University it was announced in July 2011 by Executive Director of Athletics Frank McLaughlin.
"We are excited to find a coach with the experience and accomplishments of Kevin Leighton," said McLaughlin. "We have a proud and successful baseball tradition at Fordham and look to Kevin, with the support of our alumni, to build on that success and the winning traditions."
Fordham continued to see new marks hit under Leighton in 2017. The team finished with an overall winning record for the first time since 2011, and broke the team pitching record for strikeouts in a season for the third consecutive year with 414.
Individually, the Rams had a First Team All-Atlantic 10 pitcher in Jimmy Murphy, who was drafted in the eighth round of the 2017 MLB draft by the Baltimore Orioles, making it the third consecutive season that a Fordham pitcher has been drafted. The season also marked the first time since 2011 that a Fordham player earned Freshman All-American status as pitcher Kyle Martin was honored by Baseball America and pitcher Alvin Melendez was honored by the NCBWA. In addition, both Martin and Melendez were named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team, giving Leighton at least one All-Rookie Team selection in each of his six seasons at Fordham. Fordham also had a pair of Atlantic 10 All-Academic selections in Matthew Kozuch and Jason Lundy, making it three straight seasons with multiple played selected.
The Rams continued their improvement in Leighton's fifth season at the helm, posting 29 wins, the most by Fordham since 2011, and 14 conference wins to finish fifth in the standings and earn the team's third straight trip to the Atlantic 10 Championship. Individually, six Rams earned Atlantic 10 honors, which included Second Team All-Atlantic 10 outfielder Mark Donadio and All-Rookie Team selections Justin Bardwell and Reiss Knehr. Fordham also had multiple players selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft for the second straight year with Greg Weissert going to the New York Yankees in the 18th round and Joseph Serrapica to the Tampa Bay Rays in the 24th round. On top of these accomplishments, the Rams' pitching staff broke the team record for strikeouts in a season for the second straight year with 408, marking the the first time Fordham has reached the 400-plateau.
In 2015, Leighton saw the Rams make their second straight appearance in the Atlantic 10 Championship, while five players earned conference honors, which included First Team All-Atlantic 10 catcher Charles Galiano and All-Rookie Team selection Ben Greenberg. Leighton also saw two of his original recruiting class be drafted, as pitcher Brett Kennedy was selected in the 11th round by the San Diego Padres and Galiano was picked in the 40th round by the Milwaukee Brewers. Additionally, his pitching staff broke the team record for strikeouts in a season with 392, surpassing the 1999 mark of 387, while the Rams led the Atlantic 10 in stolen bases (97) and stolen bases per game (1.80) for the second straight year and ranked in the top 20 nationally in both categories.
In 2014, Leighton coached the Rams to their first Atlantic 10 Championship appearance in four seasons, where the Rams picked up their first tournament win since 2007. Fordham also saw a number of award winners throughout the 2014 campaign, as four players earned All-League honors, marking the first time since 1997 that Fordham had four players honored by the Atlantic 10. The award winners included two All-Atlantic 10 selections (Tim Swatek - First Team; Joseph Runco - Second Team), two All-Rookie Team picks (Mark Donadio and Kirk Haynes, Jr.), an All-Academic selection (Runco), and an ECAC All-Star (Swatek - Second Team).
In Leighton's first season at Fordham, the Rams finished with a .500 record or better for the fourth straight season in conference play, while having two players, Ryan Maghini (Second Team All-Atlantic 10) and Matthew Cianci (All-Rookie) receiving All-League honors. He also brought in a large recruiting class for the 2013 season, which included one of them, Charles Galiano, being drafted out of high school by the Philadelphia Phillies. Year two under Leighton saw the 2013 class shine as Joseph Runco was named to the All-Rookie Team, while a total of four freshmen saw action in over 50 games.
Leighton, who won more than 30 games in each of his six seasons as head coach with the Jaspers, became the head coach at Fordham after one of his most successful seasons, leading Manhattan to its second MAAC Championship and second appearance in the NCAA tournament in 2011. The Jaspers finished the season with a 34-19 record with six players earning All-MAAC honors, including the MAAC Pitcher of the Year. Manhattan also had four players named to the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Northeast Region Team. Leighton was also honored, being named the Anaconda Sports MAAC Coach of the Year after guiding the Jaspers to the regular season crown with a 20-2 conference record.
"I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to lead such a prestigious baseball program with a rich tradition at a great school like Fordham," said Leighton. "I am very appreciative to everyone at Fordham for giving me this opportunity and I'm looking forward to getting the program to the top of the Atlantic 10."
In Leighton's second year at the helm of the Jaspers, he led the team to it first MAAC championship and an appearance in an NCAA Regional as the Jaspers advanced to the regional final in 2006. Manhattan won 34 games that year, including three wins over nationally ranked opponents, most notably, #6 Nebraska in the NCAA Regional. Leighton was recognized that year as the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Northeast Region Coach of the Year.
Leighton, the third winningest baseball coach at Manhattan, had a 200-119-1 career record as head coach. He has mentored 51 All-MAAC recipients since joining the program in 2002, including 32 First Team selections. During his tenure, four Jaspers were named MAAC Pitcher of the Year, two earned MAAC Rookie of the Year honors, one was selected MAAC Player of the Year and one was recognized as MAAC Relief Pitcher of the Year. Additionally, two Jaspers received All-America honors and seven were named Louisville Slugger Freshman All-Americans. Eleven players Leighton has coached have advanced to the professional ranks.
Manhattan's baseball success wasn't limited to the playing field as 49 Jaspers earned MAAC All-Academic status since 2006. In 2008 Manhattan was honored with an NCAA Public Recognition Award for ranking in the top-10 percent of all Division I baseball programs in the multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) report.
In 2008 and 2009, the Jaspers won back-to-back MAAC regular season championships with Leighton being named 2009 MAAC Coach of the Year after Manhattan tied a program record notching 35 wins with one of the most powerful offenses in conference history. The 2009 Jaspers finished fifth in NCAA Division I and set the conference's single season record with a .349 team batting average. Manhattan also set MAAC records with 657 hits and 130 doubles in a season.
Leighton guided the 2008 Jaspers to the program's first MAAC regular season title since joining the league in 1982. In 2007, the Jaspers set a school record with 35 wins, and advanced to the MAAC Championship game for the third time in the previous four seasons. The team also tallied a program-best 21 MAAC wins, including a 19-0 start to the conference season. Manhattan compiled a 16-game overall and 15-game road win streak, both of which were tops in Division I at the time.
Prior to taking over as head coach, Leighton served as an assistant coach at Manhattan from 2002-04. Leighton arrived in Riverdale after a standout four-year career at Seton Hall University. He helped the Pirates to back-to-back NCAA Regional appearances in 2000 and 2001. In 2001, he helped guide the Pirates to the Big East Championship, the program's first title since 1987.
Leighton earned his bachelor's degree in health and physical education from Seton Hall in 2001. He completed his master's degree in administration and leadership in education at Manhattan in 2005.
The Brewster, N.Y., native was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1997. He and his wife, Katie, have two daughters, Taylor and Madelyn, and a son, Owen.